Jesus and the torture debate
Added: Wed, 08 Apr 2009 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to David for the link.
OVER at Beliefnet, Steven Waldman wonders why John Ashcroft, the former attorney general and a devout Christian, never made a moral argument against torture. "We have no reports of him airing the Christian case against torture", says Mr Waldman, assuming that Mr Ashcroft made a "utilitarian calculation" in acquiescing to the policy. He bemoans the fact that "what Ashcroft never did, apparently, was ask: What Would Jesus Do?"
Thank god for that. Unlike Mr Waldman, I'm not comfortable with our attorney general basing his official actions on the hypothetical leanings of Jesus Christ. Sure, there was a Christian argument to be made against torture, but the nation's top law-enforcement official had a much more solid basis on which to mount any opposition: the law. What Mr Ashcroft never did, apparently, was ask: What would a law-abiding administration do? In his position, that should've trumped any wisdom he derived from Jesus's example.
Mr Waldman goes on to ask, "What is the value of having a religious person in office" if they're not going to bring their religious beliefs into the decision-making process? Religion is often the basis for a person's morality, but the tone of Mr Waldman's column grates on my nerves. Many people sat in on the administration's discussions about torture. There was no greater burden on Mr Ashcroft, as a devout Christian, to present the moral argument against this policy than there was on anyone else in the room. To suggest as much is to wrongfully assume that devout Christians have superior morals to people who are less religious-minded.
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